The thrill of Sex Education is still very much alive in season 3
Sex Education season 3 begins with Otis and Eric giving us a recap of what happened in the last season—a welcome review, as there were some storylines that I had completely forgotten about. Like who even remembers that Maeve used to work in the mall? Or that Aimee farts when she’s scared? Or that when Ola came to the realization that she’s pansexual, the first person she told was Adam?
But the third season is obviously about bringing these stories (the remembered and not-so-remembered) forward, and leaving some behind. We still tackle a few of the narratives that have made Sex Education a modern classic: Aimee’s sexual assault on the bus, Adam’s trying to live out his SOGIE, the relationships of Jean and Jakob, the separation of Mr. and Mrs. Groff, everyone figuring out the difference between what they deserve and what they can let fly.
The secondary characters shine
I didn’t mention Maeve or Otis or Eric earlier for the simple reason that it’s not really their storylines that soar this season. Sex Education has such a rich pool of personalities that these three kind of take a back seat—that isn’t to say, of course, that they don’t have their moments of epiphanies and love and heartbreak; we just don’t dwell on them so much anymore.
Instead, we are given access to Mr. Groff as he figures out what to do as an ex-head teacher living with his asshole of a big brother, and to Jackson as he explores the fine line between straight and queer. We are introduced to new headmistress, Hope, who is such a fucking straight arrow that it makes me hate yet and admire her at the same time, and Cal who refuses to line up with the boys or the girls.
There is so much to explore in Sex Education season 3 that you barely notice when you’re at the eighth and final episode.
The subjects that need to be discussed
I had a friend tell me that there are too many queer stories in Sex Education—he didn’t mean it badly, just that it wasn’t to his liking. But that’s the whole point, isn’t it? The series so naturally places and represents more of the LGBTQIA+ community that we’re used to that it’s sometimes jarring to our set expectations of love stories. Boy love and girl love have taken center stage, but there are more people in the rainbow spectrum who deserve their time in the spotlight, too.
Open up, world, because there is more to discover and explore. It’s not enough that we know what the acronyms stand for.
The importance of youth empowerment—and its possible consequences
As we prepare ourselves for what could be a new dawn for the Philippines, we empower the youth endlessly. We tell them that they are the future, they hold the power, they can make the change, they need to step up. But in Sex Education, as the students decide to take matters into their own hands, there are some dire consequences.
It’s a nice reminder that the youth don’t hold the key to our salvation. It’s a whole, collective effort.
But I do feel unsatisfied, still
On a personal note, the appeal of Sex Education always relied on its ability to surprise and catch me off guard. And while it still does a great job at introducing new subplots, it has also gotten lazy in some aspects. The love story between Maeve and Otis feels long and dragging, and that season finale could not have ended on a more expected note. The evolution of Eric and him embracing his sexuality—all else be damned—feels a little too self-serving, especially when helping others find themselves is a central theme in the series.
Guess you can’t have everything.
Stream Sex Education Season 3 on Netflix.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver